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Defendant maintains innocence at sentencing

November 14, 1997

Defendant maintains innocence at sentencing


Staff Writer

At his sentencing Thursday morning, Roger Earnest Heare Sr. continued to insist he was innocent of pointing a loaded gun at his former live-in girlfriend last March and pulling the trigger.

But he stuck with his July guilty plea to a charge of reckless endangerment and was sentenced to the time he already served in jail. Washington County Circuit Judge John McDowell suspended the balance of a five-year sentence.

"This is a very strange case," McDowell said. "The victim is reluctant to talk but she does say she is satisfied with time served."


Heare, 53, and the victim, Rose Marie Lewis, have had an 18-year relationship which produced four children. They currently live next door to each other in mobile homes in the 14200 block of Oak Springs Road - he with his invalid mother and she with the four children.

On March 21, a loaded .22-caliber handgun was pointed at Lewis and the trigger pulled, but the gun didn't go off even though there was a bullet in the chamber, Assistant State's Attorney Arthur Rozes said in July when the plea was taken.

Maryland State Police said they learned that a number of nonemergency 911 calls were made March 21 at around 7:30 a.m. from the home then shared by Heare and Lewis.

Less than an hour later, an intoxicated Heare showed up at the Washington County Narcotics Task Force building demanding police.

Trooper 1st Class T.R. Bequette went to the Oak Springs address and contacted Lewis who told him Heare was in the house.

She told Bequette she was assaulted, police reports said.

After leaving the house briefly, Lewis returned and the gun was pointed at her, police reports said.

Heare told police his leather coat had been burned and he had been assaulted.

When asked about the gun, Heare told Bequette the gun was in the bedroom but Lewis said he was sitting on it, police reports said.

The trooper moved him and found the loaded weapon under a pillow, police reports said.

Rozes told McDowell Thursday he is concerned because Heare won't admit he has an alcohol problem.

But defense attorney John Salvatore said Heare has gone to alcohol treatment and complied with all rules.

"Roger has paid quite a price for this," Salvatore said. "He could have used better judgment in this matter."

In July, McDowell ordered all weapons removed from the home.

Heare was allowed to remain free pending Thursday's sentencing.

Charges of second-degree assault and resisting arrest were dropped in exchange for the July plea.

Heare was fined $250. Probation was set at 2 1/2 years.

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